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F1 Race Director Michael Masi Sacked After Abu Dhabi Controversy

F1 Race Director Michael Masi Sacked After Abu Dhabi Controversy

Masi lost his job after being accused of bending the rules, leaving Lewis Hamilton missing out on his record eighth Formula One world title

Formula One's race director Michael Masi has been sacked following the Abu Dhabi controversy that saw Lewis Hamilton lose what would have been his eighth world title.

The under-fire Australian lost his job after he was accused of bending the rules to deny Lewis Hamilton a record eighth world championship at the season finale in Abu Dhabi on 12 December.

The FIA will replace Masi with Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich in a restructure of race control.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session next week.

“Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act alternatively as race director, assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisor.

“Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula 1 race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA.”

During the December race, 37-year-old Hamilton had been in the lead for almost all the race, but was overtaken on the final lap by his opponent - under what some believe were controversial conditions, after a safety car came on following a crash involving Nicholas Latifi.

Hamilton had been on the same tyres since lap 14, while Verstappen had fresh tyres introduced late on in the race.

The safety car allowed one final lap of racing and Verstappen's fresh tyres proved to make the difference.

Despite Hamilton getting into the slipstream, Verstappen managed to block it off and take home the win and his first championship.

After Verstappen was crowned victor, many people took to social media to express their confusion.

One person wrote: "Formula 1 is a big load of b*****ks really isn't it. Hamilton leading by 11 seconds, bloke crashes, safety car for 9 laps, Max suddenly side by side and wins on the last lap. What on earth have I just seen? Lewis robbed."

Another added: "Hamilton robbed. The FIA's decision to allow the restart in this way was just ridiculous."

After the race, he congratulated his opponent, saying he would simply have to wait for 'next year'.

He said: "Firstly, big congratulations to Max and to his team. But I'm so proud of my own team and we gave it absolutely everything. I've felt great in the car the last couple of months. We'll see what happens next year."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Sport, Lewis Hamilton